Belfast Telegraph

Coleraine in great spot to strike for glory: McCafferty

By Graham Luney

Neil McCafferty has backed Coleraine to keep being the surprise package of the Danske Bank Premiership. The Bannsiders can leapfrog Linfield into second place in the league table if they conquer Dungannon Swifts at the Showgrounds tonight (8pm).

Oran Kearney's side are unlikely to be complacent after suffering a 4-0 hammering to the Swifts in August and skipper McCafferty is hungry to keep the feelgood factor alive in the north west.

Coleraine are yet to taste defeat at home this season and are unbeaten in six in all competitions.

The Swifts pose a huge threat but Kearney's boys are in the groove.

"It's still early days for a club like ourselves and the picture could be different after the Christmas period and January when the big squads start to tell," said the former Swifts ace.

"What you need is a bit of luck with players staying fit but we have surprised a few people by staying around the top four and hopefully we can keep doing that.

"I know we can go second in the table if we win against Dungannon and Linfield play the Crues this weekend but the title race doesn't interest me as I've never known a title race to start in October.

"It doesn't start until after Christmas!

"I can remember being at Portadown one season and we were leading after Christmas but Linfield went on to win the league by 12 points."

Coleraine's resilient streak was in evidence in their 1-1 draw with Linfield last weekend and any points gained by visitors to the Showgrounds this season will be hard earned.

Former Linfield favourite Kearney doesn't believe in standing still and he'll want to keep his boys on the march.

"I've never really pinpointed what our targets are because you just want to see improvement and from finishing eighth in the league, we did very well to finish fifth and that's progress," added McCafferty.

"A lot of clubs are looking to secure a top six spot but looking at performances we've only had one very bad one this season and that was against Dungannon when we lost 4-0.

"You have to keep performing at your best every week or that will happen. There's some very strong teams in the top six.

"The young players have been doing well but it shouldn't be forgotten that they have been playing regularly for two years.

"We have a number of experienced players like myself, Dougie (Steven Douglas), David Ogilby, Sammy Morrow and Ruaidhri Higgins who can help the younger guys, particularly through the tough periods.

"I'm 32 years old and I feel it when the 18 and 19-year-olds are whizzing past me in training!

"As long as the team keeps winning, I'll keep enjoying it."

Belfast Telegraph


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